Magic Find in Diablo 2
This guide contains (hopefully) all you need to know about Magic Find (MF) and Farming in Diablo 2. In Diablo 2 the first thing you should know about Magic Find is that it Magic Find increases the amount of magical quality items you'll see drop from enemies; it does not increase the quality of drops in this game.
Magic Find is also calculated when you deal the killing blow to the boss or enemy. For this reason it's possible for you to use the Weapon Swap mechanic to swap to a weapon/shield that is stacked with Magic Find just before the boss or champ pack dies. As for Magic Find on your Mercenary, it'll only apply to your total Magic Find if they score the killing blow on an enemy.
There is no cap to Magic Find in Diablo 2 although there are diminishing returns that you will start hitting with about 200% MF (shown in the graph below). Since there is diminishing returns on Magic Find you'll want to be very careful when choosing gear with it. Don't sacrifice a significant amount of your clear speed for too much Magic Find as you won't gain as much of a benefit.
In Diablo 2 the first 200% Magic Find you get is the most significant increase you'll see. To put it simply, the first 200% Magic Find you get is a larger upgrade than the following 800%. Along with Magic Find, there are additional ways that you can increase your chances of finding better (and more) loot too... such as increasing the player count in your game or choosing specific zones with higher level enemies.
When you increase the player count in the game you'll make the mobs you defeat drop more loot and due to how this game calculates drops, more loot = more chance of Unique and Set Items. To explain why this is the case, when an item drops the game first checks to see if it is Unique, the higher MF you have the more likely it'll stop here and roll a Unique. Second it checks if it's a Set Item, again the more MF the higher your chance it stops here. If both those checks come back negative it'll check if the item is Rare followed by Magical.
If every check comes back negative then the item that drops will be either White or Gray. For this reason, if you're specifically looking for White/Gray items for Runeword purposes it's strongly recommended you use as little Magic Find as possible.
How Player Count Affects Drop Chance
- It does not increase the amount of items that drop from champ packs, uniques or super uniques (like Pindleskin)
- Increasing the player count to 3 when farming bosses, it decreases the 'no drop' chance to 0 but doesn't jack up difficulty too much
- Item quantity goes up at players 1, 3, 5 and 7 (all odd numbers); even numbers only increase EXP and difficulty
Treasure Class, Quality Level & Area Level
The last thing worth mentioning in any Magic Finding guide is Treasure Class (TC). Treasure Class is basically how armor and items are grouped together in Diablo 2's code. Each item is given a TC value, with the highest being 87. To use an example, Sacred Armor is in the armor TC of 87 which means that it can only drop from enemies that drop TC 87 armor. Set and Unique items have quality levels (qLvl) too which play a factor in determining drop chances.
In order for an enemy to drop a Unique Sacred Armor they will need to both be able to drop an item from the Armor 87 Treasure Class as well as have a qLvl equal to or greater than the qLvl of Unique Sacred Armor. A qLvl is determined by the level of the monster; you can tell the level of a monster by checking what level the zone is on the difficulty you're playing in.
Confused? Let's break it down in a more straight forward way...
Normal Monsters: Monster Level (mLvl) = Area Level (aLvl)
Champion Monsters: Monster Level = Area Level + 2
Unique/Boss Packs: Monster Level = Area Level + 3
Important: Every enemy in a boss pack, including the regular mobs, will be Area Level + 3. You can tell which mobs are part of a boss pack by checking for "Demon Minion" under their HP value.
Important x2: Super Unique enemies (like Pindleskin) do not follow the same formula mentioned above; they have their own drop tables and set levels.
This formula is why level 85 Hell zones are so important to farm when specifically looking for the rarest best in slot items. In a zone like Ancient Tunnels every regular enemy you fight will be level 85. All Champions will be 87 and any Boss Packs/random unique enemies will be 88. Keep in mind that you can still find TC 87 items in zones that are level 84 too--however in this case they'll only drop from the Unique/Boss Packs in these areas.
Note: Unless you are farming for a TC 87 item you don't have to farm exclusively in the level 85 Hell zones. All Set items in the game have a lower qLvl and can drop off of enemies in basically every zone throughout Hell difficulty. The only items in the game with a TC 87 level AND a qlvl of 87 are the elite uniques like Tyrael's Might, Arachnid Mesh and Azurewrath.
Amulets, Rings, Jewels & Charms do not fall into any TC category. They have their own TC group which almost any mob in the game can access.
Magic Find F.A.Q
How much Magic Find do I want to have?
The first 200% Magic Find is a bigger upgrade than the next 800%. Of course, the more MF the better, but you'll want at least 200% when you start doing farm runs for better gear for yourself for a really good chance to get the items you want to drop.
Does Magic Find on my Mercenary/Follower count towards my total?
Only when they score the killing blow on an enemy. If you score the killing blow than the MF on their gear doesn't matter at all. Honestly, it doesn't hurt to put MF gear on them in my opinion as they do score the killing blow enough to make it worth while.
Does Magic Find increase the amount of Charms and Jewels that drop?
Nope, both of these items are Magical by default so MF won't increase the likelihood of them dropping. When one does drop though they'll increase the chance it rolls Rare/Unique.
When is Magic Find calculated?
Upon the death of the monster. For this reason it's worthwhile to have a Weapon/Shield you can switch to with a lot of Magic Find just before a boss dies. If you're a class where most of your damage comes from your Weapon you likely won't be able to do this very effectively, but Sorceress' and other classes like them will benefit a lot from this early on when they just start MFing.
How does the game determine what drops?
First the game checks whether or not the item is Unique, if it isn't then it checks if it's a Set Item. Next up it'll check if it is a Rare item and then last but not least the game checks whether or not the item is Magical.
Does Magic Find help with the Barbarian Find Item Skill?
Yes it does and you should use Find Item on every Champ/Boss pack that you kill for a chance at a bonus drop. Don't go crazy putting points into this skill either, one point works just fine.